What exactly is Exercise Science? It's a broad title for a variety of sports related healthcare fields, including Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology and Athletic Training. Finding online, undergraduate programs to meet your specific educational goals can be tricky, since there is not a uniformed name used by colleges and universities for this educational area. For example, there are Bachelor of Science degrees in Physiology, Exercise Science, Health and Wellness or Health Science. Concentrations in exercise science frequently require "hands on" studies, working with people, which makes finding online studies in this specific field, a bit more difficult. Best Medical Degrees has researched some of the online degree programs available which may help you in your school search. This ranking concentrates on two of the most prominent fields of study in:
Sometimes referred to as Exercise Science, this field of study concentrates on improving overall health through the knowledge and application of physiological mechanics. In other words, exercise physiologists employ exercise techniques to improve physical performance, disease prevention and rehabilitation and athletic guidance and training.
In a nutshell, kinesiology is the study of human and animal movement, function and performance which is holistic in its approach. Kinesiology incorporates various exercise modules to improve fitness in clinical populations as well as athletes.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 13% job growth (between 2016-26) which is faster than the national average for Exercise Physiologists. The Bureau does not have a specific category for Kinesiologists, but includes it in the general Exercise Physiologist ranking. PayScale estimates an average salary ranges between $31,453-$71,500 for Kinesiologists at $30,162-$69,077 annually.
Best Medical Degrees created this ranking of online undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science by reviewing: 1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of potential job growth for careers in Exercise Science, 2) PayScale, an online salary report based on national employer surveys. Salary ranges may fluctuate based on geographic location and employer, 3) we utilized the U.S. News and World Report rankings of universities and colleges and Forbes Magazine Best Value Colleges to determine national rankings and ratings, 4) we only report on schools holding accreditation by Department of Education approved accrediting agencies and 5) estimate tuition cost ranges for schools is based on data from the 2016-2017 National Center for Educational Statistics data and school websites to establish a range of tuition cost. Tuition estimates do not include any additional fees accessed by the school or university.
Frequently, depending on financial need, students may qualify for financial assistance through Federal Student Aid for undergraduate study. You may also wish to discuss your financial options with the school you choose to determine if there is any other assistance for which you may qualify.
Estimated 2017-18 Tuition Range: $5,000-$14,000
1. Arizona State University (ASU Online)
ASU's 120-credit BS in health sciences focuses on healthy lifestyle coaching, preparing students to help others eat better, become more physically fit, and avoid health problems like obesity, heart disease, and stroke. The program involves 40 classes, with each lasting 7.5 weeks.
While the school features a friendly transfer policy, students must take at least 30 credits at ASU to graduate. They also must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative and major GPA throughout the online kinesiology degree program. Some courses also prepare those who want to become a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach.
The university's distance learners can access career services, disability resources, online tutoring, a student success center, and support for military members and veterans.
2. University of Florida
UF Online offers an online BS in health education and behavior focused on the principles of healthy lifestyle choices for people of many different backgrounds and who face numerous health-related challenges. It prepares students for careers in fitness counseling, family life education, youth education, protective services, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Many graduates immediately move into master's in kinesiology online or on-campus programs.
Online students may take between three and 18 credits each term, allowing them a high degree of flexibility related to the pace of their learning. They can also participate in Gator Clubs, open to students and alumni across the globe.
3. United States Sports Academy
The United States Sports Academy's bachelor of sports science degree allows students to take all of their courses online while preparing those who aim to enter careers in sports management, coaching, strength and conditioning, and health and wellness coaching. It delivers all courses asynchronously, enabling students to view lectures and complete assignments largely on their own schedules.
Because the school offers only upper-division courses online, students must complete 60 lower-division credits at a different institution before transferring into the program. Applicants must submit a personal statement and official transcripts.
The academy's online students benefit from a writing lab, digital library resources, and assistance with military and VA benefits.
4. American Public University
Featuring courses in health economics, sports medicine, coaching, and sports administration, APU delivers a well-rounded online BS in sports and health sciences degree program.
Students in this 120-credit online kinesiology degree may concentrate their coursework in coaching studies, exercise science, or fitness and wellness professional studies. Its asynchronous class schedules means students can learn at times convenient for them, and the school's mobile app even allows for learning through a smartphone or tablet.
APU's online classes start each month, and most students can complete the program in four years or fewer. Distance learners also have access to services like academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, and career support.
5. University of Louisiana-LaFayette
ULL's online kinesiology degree features a concentration in health promotion and wellness that prepares students for careers as health educators, community health workers, and wellness coaches. Many go on to become Certified Health Education Specialists.
The 120-credit program includes an accelerated option that enables students to graduate in as little as three years. All students must complete both a clinical experience and an internship, which they may fulfill in the area in which they live.
ULL's distance learners have access to career services, an academic success center, counseling, tech support, and health services. Those who reside outside Louisiana benefit from in-state tuition rates.
6. Ashford University
Ashford University's online BA in health and wellness gives students a well-rounded understanding of how nutrition, exercise, and stress management affect the human body in different ways. They learn how to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, and who face a variety of health concerns and needs.
This 120-credit online kinesiology degree features five-week courses, with students taking just one class at a time. They may transfer up to 90 credits toward their bachelor's degree.
Online students benefit from a digital library and writing center available 24/7, along with technical assistance, career services, and academic advising. Distance learners may participate in online student organizations, including the Student Veterans Organization.
7. California University of Pennsylvania
Cal U offers a 120-credit online exercise science degree that covers business, management, and marketing—in addition to key concepts in health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition. The program effectively prepares students looking to become certified personal trainers or certified speed coaches.
One of just 30 programs to receive recognition from the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the online exercise science degree also offers concentrations in sport management and professional golf management. And, Cal U features an accelerated "bachelor's to master's" track that allows students to complete both degrees in as few as four years.
Cal U's Global Online students can get help with ordering textbooks, applying for financial aid, technology assistance, and academic advising.
Estimated 2017-18 Tuition Range: $15,000-$30,000
8. Concordia University-Saint Paul
CSP's online exercise science degree prepares students interested in careers as coaches, athletic trainers, wellness coaches, physical therapists, and exercise physiologists. The program includes 49 major-focused credits and 120 total credits, and features a friendly transfer policy that allows students to transfer up to 90 credits from a regionally accredited institution. Its seven-week course format means learners can move through the program at an accelerated pace.
CSP emphasizes the needs of military members and veterans, offering a tuition discount for all active-duty military personnel. And, due to its status as a Yellow Ribbon Program school, some military members may qualify for free tuition through the post-9/11 GI Bill.
9. Creighton University
Creighton University, located in Omaha, Nebraska, delivers a BA in healthy lifestyle management tailored to those who aim to become community health professionals, health educators, or wellness coordinators. It takes a holistic approach to wellness, exploring the cultural, societal, mental, emotional, and physical factors that influence people's lifestyles.
This 128-credit online kinesiology degree features mostly asynchronous classes. Students can review lectures, complete assignments, and contribute to class discussions on their own time. All distance learning takes place via a digital platform called BlueLine.
Services available to Creighton's online learners include digital library and research databases, an IT help desk, and an online writing center.
10. Excelsior College
Excelsior's online BS in health sciences program allows students to seek an emphasis in health and wellness. It focuses on the four key areas of exercise, natural healing, nutrition, and spirituality and health to prepare students for careers helping others live healthier lifestyles.
Through this 120-credit online kinesiology degree, students can prepare themselves to become Certified Health Education Specialists and pass other certification and licensing exams. They may also seek a dual master's of health sciences degree by completing a total of 147 credits. This can take as little as four to five years.
Excelsior's online students can access services like academic advising, a career center, financial aid assistance, a veterans' center, and an online writing lab.